This article will go through a pretty basic process of learning how to be more productive and get some shit done, outlined as so:
- Diagnose why you aren’t getting shit done
- Choosing a solution
- Some methods that I use personally (and teach my students)
Why aren’t you getting your shit done?
This is a very difficult question to answer for most people, but also extremely important. So figure it out, what’s stopping you? I’ve listed a couple of the most popular things I come across below:
- Imposter syndrome – you simply don’t think that you deserve success, everybody else is better than you, so you might as well not try etc etc I hear this or some variation every single day.
- Lazy – it’s gonna take a big person to diagnose yourself this way, but it’s also the easiest one to fix, be honest, are you just lazy?
- Too busy – this is a perfectly legitimate reason to not be doing what you need to, but also one that is solvable, sometimes life gets in the way, something comes up, you have to prioritise, don’t feel bad about this one
- You don’t want it enough – probably the most common one, if you find yourself making excuses, always coming up with a reason not to do something, you might not want it enough, simple as that.
How I know?
I run a group and coach people, what I have found over the last 5 or so years is that the majority of issues people have are internal, mindset related things. It’s a really difficult thing to work on for most people, but not impossible, and every issue can be solved in time with the right habits.
There are loads of ways to go about this and I find that each person reacts differently to different ways of motivating, below you will find a suggested course of action that should get you through the majority of your issues.
It’s important to buy into the process, turn off your brain (or at least shut that fucker up for a bit) and just follow the process.
This is primarily how I teach people to do SEO and link building in particular but can be applied to most things online, which I assume you are interested in. I personally have a number of these systems for various things:
- Link building
- On-page SEO
- Building affiliate sites
- Traffic generation
- Hiring virtual staff members
- Having content written or produced
- And a shit ton of other less related things
How I deal with it?
Every Sunday, write out everything that you think you need to do, any ideas any emails you need to reply to absolutely anything that is on your mind (in context). I do this on my whiteboard, in a center section of 3 sections.
Once I have everything written in the middle section, I separate them out into other sections. In the left section I put the 5-10 things i need to do immediately, today, this week, whatever you decide, I do it for the day so I have a clear to do list.
An example of this is: Write 500 words of article for John’s magazine
On the right side I put long term things, things that I want to do. Ideas that I have that aren’t immediate.
An example of this is: Learn 15 words in Japanese
What’s important here is that recurring things get cleaned off the board so that I don’t have to think about them again, I clean them from the left side as soon as they are done, then add them back to the center section, that way it is available for when I need to add it on my immediate to-do list.
The best thing about this system is when you get to rub something out, it’s an extremely cathartic thing to physically rub out something you had to do and never need to think of it again.
Each day you simply go to the center list and pick the things you need to do. Have a new idea or get an email you need to reply to? Add it to the center section.
At any time, you can simply look and see everything you need to do, choose what is most important and add it to the immediate list.
Which brings me nicely to this section, choosing what goes on the immediate list is a skill that takes some learning, what most people tend to do is put “busy work” on there. I fucking hate this.
Just because you are working doesn’t mean you’re doing something useful.
You have to be completely honest with yourself and choose the things that are going to have an impact on your goals.
For example, I know a lot of you will be building sites for the most part. It’s extremely tempting to put things like “Fix footer section” if you have some kind of design error.
Then you’re going to spend an entire day, fixing and choosing colours, making tiny edits, making judgement calls. Even if this takes you 2 hours, what is that 2 hours better spent on? Fixing your footer or selecting a task that drives traffic to the site?
The design of your footer area becomes important, WHEN you have traffic, so prioritise tasks that get traffic to your site, then you can start fixing design issues.
If you are procrastinating and essentially not getting shit done, sat doing busy work, watching netflix or youtube all day long. You have to take responsibility for that, you are making a decision to spend your time doing that.
This may be a subconscious thing so being honest with yourself is extremely important. Look at how you spend your day, do you feel good about it? Do you feel guilty?
Honestly analyse what you are doing, and if you’ve been lazy, accept it, be honest, think critically about yourself and figure out which areas you can improve. THEN FUCKING DO IT!
Watching too much TV, realise that you are, take responsibility that if you don’t change that yourself, then you’ll still be doing it in a year. Be honest, stop it, when you catch yourself watching TV ask yourself, what the fuck am I doing?
If you still can’t stop yourself and get to work then maybe you don’t want it enough, that’s ok, don’t beat yourself up about it, but realise that the people who do want it more are likely going to out achieve you, and if they want the same thing as you? You’re done!
Just do it consistently
Assuming that you’ve been honest with yourself, decided that you want it enough to make it happen, then I have some good news for you.
It’s not that hard.
All of my students who have been successful have one thing in common, consistency!
Whatever it is that you do, do it consistently, every day. I’m not saying that if you take a day off you’re a piece of shit, but at least on your average weekday, get it done.
Do the basics well and consistently
Speaking of consistency, what is it that you need to do? The absolute basics.
My group have a 2 hour video meeting every week day, it’s aimed at just having people do the absolute basics of link building (content and angle ideation, listing targets, doing outreach to them, following up).
For the most part this is all that we do, we do it well, consistently, over and over again.
Whatever you have to do, figure out what are the basic things that you need to do, do it well and do it consistently and then…
You know the beauty of the last step? You know what you need to do, you know that you need to do it over and over again, if you have identified those things then they can more than likely be systemised.
If something can be systemised you don’t have to do it yourself.
My rules for building systems (in a nutshell):
- Do your normal thing
- Write down every step in a list, in minute detail (I use Google sheets for this)
- Do it again
- Write down the steps again
- Compare the 2 lists that you have
- Anything that is the same on the lists should never be done by you again
- Create a set of instructions that are foolproof to achieve that thing
- Find somebody who can do it to the same level that you do
I can go into more detail about cutting out steps that are unrequired that can’t be systemised but I’m running out of word count here, feel free to ask me any questions you have on doing this.
Obviously there are things that can’t be systemised in this way, but I was able to do the 2 core parts of my business, if you can do this you can remove yourself from it, but I have no issue with being involved in some creative steps (I actually enjoy content ideation and choosing angles), 2 things I need to make my business a success:
- Getting enquiries
- Fulfilling the work
Prove them (proof of concept is essential)
It’s likely that one of the reasons you aren’t getting shit done is that you (either secretly or not) don’t feel confident in what you are doing.
Cognitive dissonance is a powerful thing kids, there is a huge difference in having a plan to do something and knowing without any doubt that you can do it and that it will work.
The only way I have ever seen to know that something works is to actually do it, prove the concept to yourself, this is the first thing that I teach my students and as soon as they go out and perform their task and see it work, it changes their perspective completely.
So go out and do the thing, whatever it is, do it for yourself, do it for family or friends, do it for free for businesses, prove that you can do it, and this will remove the fear of doing. Once the system works then it is simply a case of doing, which any of you can do at any time.
The previous step contributes to this one, repeated success with a system allows you to trust them, this is the point at which you KNOW that your system works.
Again the only way to do this is to perform consistently, are you starting to see a theme here?
Then its a case of just doing work
Over and over again!
This is the end of the process that I wanted to talk about in this piece, however, I am aware that some of you will need a different way of doing things, so here are some notes that have helped my students that weren’t relevant enough to make the main process.
- Accept that if you don’t do it, it ain’t getting done – quite simply, if you don’t wipe it off your list then it will always be on your list, you either do it or look at it forever.
- Change of location – this is so small but so huge, a change of physical location is extremely effective in changing your mindset, getting focused and a little clarity. I see this work to motivate people more often than not. It doesn’t have to be a huge change, sitting in the garden often works to clear the cobwebs.
- Do it for yourself – practice, in a controlled environment, it’s much easier to get things done if there is no inherent risk attached.
- 2 hours per day EVERY DAY will get almost anything done – in my Facebook group, we promote people meeting online, show up, get their work done, ask questions, share ideas and get help if required.
- Be dumb and just do – more often than not, turning off your brain and just mindlessly performing the activity is extremely productive.
- Think it, do it – instantaneous action, a lot of indecision will get you nowhere, a lot of my biggest achievements have just popped into my head and I’ve ploughed ahead with them, more often than not the implementation is imperfect, but better than nothing and can be refined over time.
- Transparency – scared of making mistakes? I’ve made plenty and people don’t tend to give a shit so long as you are honest and open with them, be transparent about what you’re going to do up front, and then if you make a mistake, apologise and fix the mistake.
- Accountability – having somebody check up on you is brilliant for this type of thing, I pair up my students with people who are slightly ahead of them in the process. This works for both parties, allowing the more advanced person to explain the process and check up on the less experienced, usually injects a little friendly competition, which works amazingly.
- Mentor – something that I’ve used over and over again, there is nothing that drives confidence more than having somebody who has done what you are trying to do guide you and answer your questions. I’ve had several throughout the years and have always seen large amounts of progress. You can spend months doing something to figure out something that a mentor could tell you in 15 minutes.
More about Dan Ray
Visit his website danray.me or join his exclusive group at danray.me/dcwd or find him on his Facebook Group: The Super Cool Dan Ray White Hat SEO and Link Building Group